Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Planning for Next Year

Since there's not a whole lot going on in January and February, and I'm stuck in the house often with snowstorms going on outside, I've been spending some time lately thinking about school for next, and beginning to plan what we'll do for Lucy's 4th grade year. Here's what I've got so far.

HANDWRITING - We've been using A Reason for Handwriting for cursive practice this year, and are going through it rather slowly. I'm guessing Lucy will still be working her way through it next year. This program has children copy Bible verses for cursive practice. Lucy will also continue to work on her typing. I like this free website from the BBC for typing practice.

MATH - Lucy has enjoyed the Math U See curriculum this year, so we'll continue with that series. This year we're doing multiplication, which we'll probably finish over the summer, and then begin division in the fall. The program focuses on one math area for each year, but it includes tons of review and also manages to slip in some other concepts in a way that's related to the main concept. I love all the review that Lucy gets, so she doesn't get rusty in other areas.

LATIN - It looks like we'll finish Prima Latina this year. We're going through it pretty quickly, because Lucy loves to do it. So next year we'll move on to Latina Christiana. These are from Memoria Press. I'm planning on having Lucy review her vocabulary over the summer periodically, so she doesn't get rusty.

SPELLING - Lucy and I are both enjoying Spelling Wisdom, a spelling through dictation program from Simply Charlotte Mason. We'll continue with this program next year.

GRAMMAR - We'll finish up our Language Lessons for the Elementary Child Vol. 1 (from Queen Homeschool Supplies) and move on to Vol. 2. This is a nice series that introduces grammar gently to elementary students, in the manner of Charlotte Mason. It includes some nice art for picture study and some copywork too.

COPYWORK - Also from Queen Homeschool Supplies, we'll finish up our Lessons in Manners for Copywork book. I periodically assign prayers and Bible verses for copywork as well.

WRITING - If we like the Imitation in Writing series, from Logos School, that we're going to try out, we'll continue with this writing program. The idea is for younger students to narrate, learn from, and imitate great writing from the past. Then as they get older, they will be able to write well out of their own experiences. We're going to start with imitating Aesop this year, and will probably still be working on that part of next year. Then there's a Medieval Legends book that will fit in nicely with our history study to move on to, as well as one for poetry. Lucy likes to come up with her own ideas for creative writing, and she periodically decides to write a report on something we've learned in science.

POETRY - We'll read history related poetry, like Beowulf for Kids, plus we have several nice CD's of contemporary poetry for kids that Lucy likes to listen to. My favorite is Poetry Speaks for Kids, where the poets themselves read the poems. And then the Imitation in Writing poetry book for practice.

ART & MUSIC HISTORY AND APPRECIATION - Once again, will be related to history. We'll study some composers and artists from the historical time period we're learning about, and Lucy likes coloring books from historical time periods. Also, Lucy takes a homeschool art class, and she's working on learning the piano. She doesn't take formal lessons yet, since I know the piano pretty well.

SCIENCE - So far we've done random science topics that Lucy is interested in. We have a couple workbooks, a big yard in the country, and lots of library books to go along with our science and nature study. I'm thinking about trying some more formal science study next year, and I've heard good things about Real Science for Kids, so we might try that. Lucy is interested in any and every science topic, so I figure a more organized program will give us plenty of ideas about what to study! Also, we'll continue exploring outside and writing and drawing in the nature journal. We do more of that in the summer, since winter is so long and nasty here!

LITERATURE - Some of our reading is history-based, and then the rest is whatever Lucy feels like reading. Lucy's a voracious reader, and reads hundreds of books every year! Since we'll be doing the Middle Ages to Renaissance in history next year, here are some of the books I'm thinking about assigning: Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare, A.E. Nesbit; King Arthur and His Knights, Howard Pyle; some kind of intro to Chaucer; Robin Hood; Saint George and the Dragon, Geraldine McCaughrean; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Favorite Medieval Tales, Mary Pope Osborne; Don Quixote of the Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes - or Don Quixote and the Windmills, Eric Kimmel; The Midwife's Apprentice, Karen Cushman.

HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, BIBLE, CHURCH HISTORY - We've been using The Story of the World for history this year, and I like it a lot, however, I'd like to integrate Biblical history and church history more than this series does. So I just ordered one unit from Tapestry of Grace to try out. I've heard a lot of good things about it, and it sounds like it integrates geography, Bible, church history, and fine arts nicely. I've been doing a lot of that myself, and it'd be nice to have a program where it's already done for me!

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